Test Drive: 2010 Suzuki Kizashi – A Whole New World

In its first 5 months on the market, the Suzuki Kizashi has won significant praise from the automotive media and now has come out with the highest total overall satisfaction among all new purchased or leased vehicles sold in the United States. That?s according to AutoPacific?s 14th annual Vehicle Safety Awards (VSA), based on research results from 42,000 new vehicle owners. The Kizashi scored 99 points above the industry average to place first among all 2010 model year vehicles in AutoPacific?s survey.

The Kizashi is Suzuki?s latest and best entry in the competitive midsize sedan segment. Powered by a four cylinder, 2.4-liter engine producing 185 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque, and connected to a six-speed manual or optional Continuously Variable Transmission (at 180 horsepower), the Kizashi offers a brisk, sporty experience comparable to more expensive cars such as the VW Jetta or Volvo S40.

The Kizashi is a driver’s car – the available horsepower won’t throw you back in your seat, but in the hands of an expert, this car can fly through the twisties with the best of them. In my vigorous real world testing, the car averaged 26 MPG while screaming around mountain roads, cruising the freeways, and driving around town.

Handling is the Kizashi?s strong point. Once you’ve got the Kizashi going fast, it will stay fast around any curve. The handling is neutral to a touch of understeer, the traction control is capable and unobtrusive, and the net result is that the more powerful turbocharged competitors may walk away from you at the start, but you’ll take the lead and hold it through the curves.

Inside, you’ll find state-of-the-art instrumentation, comfortable seats, and every modern convenience you expect in a European sport sedan costing far more than the Kizashi’s base sticker price of $18,999.

The bottom line on the Kizashi is this – if you’re shopping sports sedans from Nissan, Acura, Honda, Mazda, or even Audi, you owe it to yourself to take a fresh look at Suzuki. Leave your past impressions and biases at home – the Kizashi is a whole new deal for Suzuki.

Suzuki?s consumer website is www.SuzukiAuto.com. Interested consumers can also check out news and information at www.Facebook.com/SuzukiAuto and follow Suzuki on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/SuzukiAuto.


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